Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening September 4-10, 2014


One of the most hotly anticipated and highly acclaimed films of the year, Boyhood is a triumph for director Richard Linklater, who made the coming-of-age drama over 12 years, bringing his cast together for a few weeks at a time to capture various stages of life for a Texas kid named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), from ages 6 to 18.

Patricia Arquette is his divorcée mother and Ethan Hawke is the dad. The director's daughter Lorelei Linklater portrays the older sister.

The director has joked that a sequel could follow Mason through college and then to Europe, where he gets on a train and meets a girl. But then he's already made that movie. It's called Before Sunrise.

Boyhood premiered at this year's Sundance fest and also won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival. Critical reception is universally positive. It opened in sneak previews last week and now moves to more frequent screenings at Apex Siam Square, House on RCA, Paragon and CentralWorld. Rated 13+

Also opening

The November Man – Former Bond Pierce Brosnan suits back up as a spy, producing this thriller in which he's an ex-CIA agent who gets entangled in a political conspiracy. Tasked with protecting a woman (ex-Bond woman Olga Kurylenko from Quantum of Solace) whose secrets threaten the future of old alliances, he's pitted against his former protege (Luke Bracey). It's based on a novel by Bill Granger, a former Chicago newspaperman. Roger Donaldson, who steered Brosnan through the volcano thriller Dante's Peak, directs. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 18+

Wer – The werewolf myth is tackled "found footage" style in this story of a defense lawyer (AJ Cook) who learns her new client (Brian Scott O'Connor) is a werewolf. He escapes from jail and goes on the loose in Paris. William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) directs and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity, Insidious) executive produces. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+

Deliver Us from Evil – A New York police officer joins forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez) to investigate a strange series of paranormal crimes. It's supposedly a true story. Olivia Munn also stars. Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directs. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 18+.

Fah Gam Toh (ฟ้าแก้มโต) – Comedian Ping Lumpraplerng takes a serious turn in this drama by indie director Parm Rangsri (Pawn Shop, Daddy's Menu). Ping is a veteran singer who has fallen on hard times. He struggles to recapture his stardom, with support from the only person who believes in him, his young daughter. This is among the crop of Thai films making premieres at the upcoming Busan International Film Festival. Rated 15+

Mary Kom – The life story of India's female boxing champion and Olympic bronze medalist is recounted, chronicling her struggles in the male-dominated sport. She's portrayed by former Miss World Priyanka Chopra, a controversial choice given that she is Punjabi. "I don't look like Mary. I don't have the features like her, but I have given blood and soul for this film to make sure I represent Mary's spirit and her personality to the best of my ability," she has said. It's in Hindi with English and Thai subtitles at Paragon, Major Cinplex Sukhumvit, Rama III and Pattaya. Opens Friday.

Also showing

Life on Mars screens tonight and on Saturday at the Thai Short Film and Video Festival.
18th Thai Short Film and Video Festival – The fest continues at 5 today at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center with S-Express Malaysia, a collection of brand-new Malaysian shorts curated by writer-director Amir Muhammad. That's followed at 6.30 by the Queer Programme, which includes the Thai short Life on Mars plus others from Austria, Senegal and Belgium. On Friday, it's S-Express Indonesia, medium-length Thai works in the Digital Forum and International Competition 3. Saturday starts at 11am, with White Elephant student films in competition, Duke Award documentaries and a special program, Archive Ex 2, featuring groundbreaking experimental Thai films, including a 55-minute look at a day in Bangkok's Chinatown, made in 1982. The S-Express programs from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are repeated, as is the Queer Programme. The fest wraps on Sunday with a block of animated shorts in competition – no dialogue, so no subtitle worries. Another highlight is the encore screening of Letters from the South, a look at Chinese people in Southeast Asia by the region's top indie directors. For more details, please see the schedule on the festival's Facebook page.

The Friese-Greene Club – Tonight, a young woman is drawn into the spy game in Hong Kong and Shanghai during World War II in Ang Lee's erotic thriller Lust Caution, part of a monthlong look at "the diversity of Ang Lee". Fridays, about "funny things [that] happen in England", start with the booze-soaked comedy Withnail and I. Saturday kicks off a series of "so bad they're good" films with Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls. Sundays are devoted to the late Lauren Bacall with 1947's Dark Passage, co-starring Humphrey Bogart. And Wednesdays are in memory of the dramatic performances of Robin Williams, with Christopher Nolan's Alaskan murder yarn Insomnia. Shows are at 8pm. The FGC is down an alley next to the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. There's just nine seats, so book them. Also, check the Facebook page for updates and program changes.

The Lives of Others – The Filmvirus series of biographical double bills continues on Sunday with  My Way Home, part three of The Bill Douglas Trilogy, recounting the early life of the Scottish filmmaker. That's followed by The Best Intentions. Bille August directs the partly autobiographical screenplay by Ingmar Bergman, who looks at the complex courtship of his parents. It's a condensed version of a four-hour mini-series made for Swedish television. The show starts at 12.30 on Sunday in the Pridi Banomyong Library at Thammasat University Tha Prachan, in the Rewat Buddhinan Room, floor U2, the basement. Dress appropriately and inform the desk worker you are there to see a movie. For details, call (02) 613-3529 or (02) 613-3530.

Take note

There is no free French film next Wednesday at the Alliance Française, due to another event being held. Screenings will resume there on September 17.

Along with the Thai Short Film and Video Festival at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, there several other exhibitions that are worth a look while you are there. On the eighth floor is Thai Charisma, which juxtaposes ancient Thai artifacts and Buddhist imagery with contemporary works. It includes some work by the late National Artist Thawan Duchanee, who died on Wednesday at age 74. And the seventh floor is filled with Thai and European video installations.

Meanwhile, the third- fourth- and fifth-floor walkways are cluttered with giant, awkwardly placed lightboxes paying tribute to Thai architects. It's simply hard to make your way through. You would think an exhibition about men who design buildings would be more thoughtfully planned.

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